Klay Thompson

Video: Klay Thompson's 60-point game a tribute to unselfish Warriors

Video: Klay Thompson's 60-point game a tribute to unselfish Warriors

If you haven't seen a highlight reel from Klay Thompson's incredible offensive performance Monday night, I invite you to take a quick click over to this one.

I watched those highlights and am still amazed at someone being able to score 60 points in 29 minutes of action. Nobody has scored that many in fewer than 30 minutes during the shot-clock era. And remember, Thompson is the Warriors' third option on offense and in this game, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant still ended up with more touches than Thompson.

But there are several things worth watching in the highlights:

  • The Warriors used a whole lot of different offense to get Thompson shots, including their weave, their triangle, their motion and the same "horns" offense that many other teams run. Golden State is unselfish and as soon as it was obvious Thompson was having a special night, he got the ball plenty, quite obviously.
  • The Pacers did an almost historically bad job of defending Thompson. He got way too many wide-open jumpers and dead-cold layups for a man on his way to 60 points. In fact, in the third quarter Indiana seemed to just give up on him. You could see Coach Nate McMillan squirming on the sidelines. I'm guessing some Pacers got a full blast from him after the game.
  • Steve Kerr does a terrific job of creating an unselfish, winning culture at Golden State. Every guy on the floor feeding Thompson knew that if THEY were the hot one, they'd be getting the ball in much the same manner.
  • I've said this before but the anti-Durant people just don't want to listen: Don't you understand why Durant wanted to go to this team? Forget about rings, NBA players have to muddle through 82 games during the regular season. For months, their lifestyle is a game just about every other night. And wouldn't you want to play with a team that's unselfish? A team that wins just about every game it plays? Seriously, did you watch the Warrior bench while Thompson was going off? Those guys were going crazy. There cannot be a more fun place to play anywhere in sports.

Golden State finds its groove against Trail Blazers

Golden State finds its groove against Trail Blazers

Golden State might have found its groove Tuesday in Portland. 

After sputtering through its first three games, Golden State routed the Trail Blazers 127-104 behind 28 points from Stephen Curry and a perfect shooting night from reserve Ian Clark. Curry scored 23 of his points in the third quarter and Clark scored 22 points on 8-of-8 shooting after entering the game averaging 2.7 points.

The Blazers, who have struggled this season in giving up big runs, let the game get away in the third quarter when Golden State went on an 18-2 run that helped extend a 59-53 halftime lead to 100-73 entering the fourth quarter. The Blazers have now given up a 16-0 run in the second quarter to the Clippers, a 17-1 run to Denver in the third quarter and Tuesday's 18-2 run to Golden State in the third. 

Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 31 points in 31 minutes and Evan Turner added 14 off the bench, but the Blazers were plagued by poor shooting, particularly from three-point range. While the Warriors clamped down on Lillard and CJ McCollum, it dared Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu to beat them from the outside, but despite open looks the two forwards combined to make 6-of-22 shots, which included missing all nine of their 3-point attempts. Aminu went 0-for-6 from three-point range and is now shooting 3-for-20 from beyond the arc on the season. 

The Warriors (3-1) lost their opener by 29 points to San Antonio, then had close victories over New Orleans and Phoenix, but on Tuesday they looked every bit the "Super Team"  so many have labled them after the Kevin Durant signing in the offseason. Durant had 20 points, five rebounds and two assists and Draymond Green had six points, eight rebounds and nine assists. Klay Thompson added 14 points on 6-of-17 shooting as he played through foul trouble.

In a fast-paced and at times hectic first half, the Warriors took a 59-53 lead on the heels of 52.2 percent shooting that included backup point guard Ian Clark making all six of his shots while Curry sputtered to five points on 2-of-9 shooting. Lillard kept the Blazers in the game with 22 in the first half, but Portland was hurt by 10 turnovers, including three trainwreck passes by Turner, and shodding three-point shooting (4-of-15).

The Blazers (2-2) raced to a 14-7 lead as Lillard scored eight quick points and Golden State struggled to a 3-for-9 start. But while Curry was missing his first three shots during a scoreless first quarter, unheraded Clark provided a spark by hitting all four of his shots and scoring 11 points in the quarter. What seemed like a good start for the Blazers was instead a 34-25 deficit after they managed just two points over the final 4:25 of the first quarter. 

Notes: Lillard has 136 points through the first four games, breaking Kiki Vandeweghe's franchise record for points in the first four games of a season. Vandeweghe had 124 to open the 1984 season ... Rookie Jake Layman made his Blazers debut in the fourth quarter and scored 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting, which included 5-of-7 from three-point range. 

Next up: Blazers at Phoenix, 7 p.m. Wednesday (CSN)

It appears the season has lasted a couple of games too long for Warriors

It appears the season has lasted a couple of games too long for Warriors

It's looking as if the season has just gone a little too long for the Golden State Warriors. In a season of an unprecedented number of wins, can they somehow find a way to win just one more?

It's going to be very difficult. I called them to win in seven and I'm going to stick with that. But it's entirely possible that they've blown their chance to properly finish off the greatest season of all time.

Draymond Green, by getting suspended for Game 5 when Golden State had the Cleveland Cavaliers on the run, cost them a lot. The injury to Andrew Bogut has deprived them of their rim protector, throwing their great defense off kilter. The guards -- the backbone of the offense all season -- have been held, pushed, jostled and wrestled to the point where they look completely worn out and ineffective.

Without Bogut, they have very little choice now but to play small most of the time -- which allows LeBron James to be the biggest player on the floor, a role he seems to relish. In fact, James has played back-to-back games that have probably been among the two best he's ever played on a big playoff stage. But can he have one more of those Sunday night in Game 7 in Oakland?

That's going to be big, of course. But not the biggest decider of what's going to happen in Game 7.

The Warriors need to find their touch from long range. Getting field goals in three-point bunches has been a difference-maker for this team all season. And I'm not talking about making nine or 10 of them. I'm talking about an avalanche of threes.

And frankly, to do that the Warriors need freedom of movement and the ability to get open for those shots. A lot of what's going to happen has to do with how this game is going to be called by the officials. Steve Kerr did a masterful job of trying to work the officials two days in advance after Thursday night's loss:

Look, it's the Finals. Everybody is competing out there. There are fouls on every play. It's a physical game ... if they're going to let Cleveland grab and hold these guys constantly on their cuts and then you're going to call these ticky-tack fouls on the MVP of the league to foul him out, I don't agree with that."

Steph Curry has been bounced around by defenders since the Oklahoma City series, when NBA referees went back to their old habit of allowing teams to get more physical with their defense just because it's the playoffs.

I don't abide that and never have. But it's the way this has been going. And if Klay Thompson and Curry can't shake free of the arm bars and body bumps, it's going to be another long night Sunday for Golden State.

The three-point shot has been the difference for the Warriors all season. They can get beat on the boards, and allow more free throws and points in the paint but as long as they have one of those huge nights from long range, they've still won. It's likely going to have to be that way Sunday in Game 7.

Or a great season is going to come to a stunning end.

Klay Thompson on LeBron: “I guess his feelings just got hurt”; LeBron laughed

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Klay Thompson on LeBron: “I guess his feelings just got hurt”; LeBron laughed

OAKLAND — There’s been a lot of smack talked on the court between the Warriors and Cavaliers through the NBA Finals, a fair amount of it between the always chatteringDraymond Green and LeBron James. After Game 4, LeBron said that he felt some of what was said crossed a line.

“I’m all cool with the competition,” LeBron said after the loss. “I’m all fine with that, but some of the words that came out of his mouth was a little bit overboard, and being a guy with pride, a guy with three kids and a family, things of that nature, some things just go overboard and that’s where he took it, and that was it.”

In the wake of Green’s suspension for Game 5 (not for words but a low blow to LeBron), Klay Thompson commented on the smack talk and LeBron, voicing the feeling among the Warriors that the Cavaliers lobbied for the Green suspension.

“I don’t know how the man feels,” Thompson said of LeBron. “But obviously people have feelings and people’s feelings get hurt even if they’re called a bad word. I guess his feelings just got hurt. I mean, we’ve all been called plenty of bad words on the basketball court before. Some guys just react to it differently.”

When told of this, LeBron just laughed.

CONTINUE READING

Warriors' Splash Brothers still M.I.A. in NBA Finals

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Warriors' Splash Brothers still M.I.A. in NBA Finals

Three games into these NBA Finals, the Warriors continue to await the arrival of Splash Brothers.

Steph Curry and Klay Thompson have been present for all three games. But their superhero alter egos have yet to show up.

“Me and Steph, we’ll figure it out,” Thompson said Thursday. “But there’s no time to press and try to get our numbers.”

“We’re 2-1. We’re 2-1,” Curry said, referring to the Warriors holding a 2-1 lead over Cleveland in the best-of-seven series. “We’re up 2-1 right now and the story is still unfolding.”

The story that’s unfolding is the Warriors have managed to get in such good position without Curry and Thompson providing anything close to their usual production.

Also unfolding is the question of whether the Warriors can win the series without their All-Star guards playing at that level -– and where on earth will the Cavaliers turn if the Splash Brothers take the stage.

“We’re usually the better team when that happens,” Curry said.

CONTINUE READING

Klay Thompson: Timofey Mozgov’s injuring screen ‘seemed kind of dirty to me’

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Klay Thompson: Timofey Mozgov’s injuring screen ‘seemed kind of dirty to me’

Klay Thompson got off to an awful start in Game 3 tonight, shooting 0-for-5 from the field and missing both his free throws.

Then, it got worse.

The Warriors guard suffered a left-thigh contusion when colliding with Timofey Mozgov late in the first quarter. Thompson went to the locker room then returned to the game in the middle of the second quarter.

Thompson:

I didn’t get it. I don’t know. I’m guarding Kyrie. I’m running full speed downhill. I just don’t know who’s trying to set a pick on you in the middle of the key. If it’s on the perimeter, I understand. But it didn’t make sense to me.

Obviously, it didn’t feel good, but I’ll alright. Luckily for us, I’m going to take the day off tomorrow and get healthy. But it’s the Finals. Nothing is going to keep me out of it.

But I re-watched it. I’m just confused why he’s trying to set a screen in the middle of the key when we’re both running full speed downhill. It seemed kind of dirty to me. He stuck his knee out, too. But you know what? That’s basketball.

CONTINUE READING

What to make of Warriors' on-and-off performances

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What to make of Warriors' on-and-off performances

Adam Silver smiled as he considered the National Basketball Association’s 2016-17 ad campaign -– “Garbage Time – We’ve Got Barges Full Of It.”

The latest in this spring’s series of lies was Game 3 of the NBA Finals, Cleveland’s 120-90 garroting of Golden State, made it eminently clear that nothing you believe about sports is true, nothing you read between games has value, the last thing you saw is always a lie, and the only thing you can bank on in this league any more is The Amazing Sladek, the guy who stacks chairs and balances atop them at halftimes across America.

And even then, the timid old sod could toss up a recliner now and then to break the monotony, or juggle three dogs and two cleavers just to give the audience one legitimate thrill.

This was the latest in a series of enormous blowouts this spring -– the 10th 30-point-plus margin, the 20th 25-point-plus margin and the 32nd 15-point-plus margin. Cleveland was the dominant team from the national anthem onward, and Golden State the cheap clown-suited foil to everything the Cavaliers wanted to do and whenever they wanted to do it.

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Warriors off to most dominant start in NBA Finals history

Warriors off to most dominant start in NBA Finals history

LeBron James looked at his copy of the box score and succinctly evaluated the Cavaliers’ problems.

“We didn’t win anything,” LeBron said.

The Warriors are the 32nd team to go up 2-0 in the NBA Finals.

Nobody had done it in such a commanding fashion.

Golden State beat Cleveland 104-89 in Game 1 and 110-77 in Game 2 – a combined difference of 48 points. That’s the best start in Finals history.

Here’s each team to go up 2-0 sorted by scoring difference through two games, NBA champions in blue and runners up in wine:

Team Scoring difference through two games Won Finals?
2016: GSW vs. CLE 48 (104-89, 110-77) TBD
1951: ROC vs. NYK 42 (92-65, 99-84) Yes
1961: BOS vs. STL 42 (129-95, 116-108) Yes
1965: BOS vs. LAL 38 (142-110, 129-123) Yes
1967: PHI vs. SFW 37 (141-135, 126-95) Yes
2005: SAS vs. DET 36 (84-69, 97-76) Yes
1964: BOS vs. SFW 35 (108-96, 124-101) Yes
1986: BOS vs. HOU 34 (112-100, 117-95) Yes
1987: LAL vs. BOS 32 (126-113, 141-122) Yes
2009: LAL vs. ORL 30 (100-75, 101-96) Yes
1971: MIL vs. BAL 29 (98-88, 102-83) Yes
2002: LAL vs. NJN 28 (99-94, 106-83) Yes
1976: BOS vs. PHO 26 (98-87, 105-90) Yes
1999: SAS vs. NYK 25 (89-77, 80-67) Yes
2006: DAL vs. MIA 24 (90-80, 99-85) No
1947: PHW vs. CHS 24 (84-71, 85-74) Yes
1977: PHI vs. POR 24 (107-101, 107-89) No
2000: LAL vs. IND 24 (104-87, 111-104) Yes
1959: BOS vs. MNL 23 (118-115, 128-108) Yes
1996: CHI vs. SEA 21 (107-90, 92-88) Yes
2007: SAS vs. CLE 20 (85-76, 103-92) Yes
1949: MNL vs. WSC 18 (88-84, 76-62) Yes
2008: BOS vs. LAL 16 (98-88, 108-102) Yes
1983: PHI vs. LAL 16 (113-107, 103-93) Yes
1989: DET vs. LAL 15 (109-97, 108-105) Yes
1997: CHI vs. UTA 14 (84-82, 97-85) Yes
1995: HOU vs. ORL 13 (120-118, 117-106) Yes
1993: CHI vs. PHO 11 (100-92, 111-108) Yes
1963: BOS vs. LAL 10 (117-114, 113-106) Yes
1969: LAL vs. BOS 8 (120-118, 118-112) No
1955: SYR vs. FTW 7 (86-82, 87-84) Yes
1975: GSW vs. WSB 7 (101-95, 92-91) Yes

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On night Splash Brothers are cold Warriors still win by 15

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On night Splash Brothers are cold Warriors still win by 15

 It was a night where the Splash Brothers barely made a ripple in the water.

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 20 points on 8-of-27 shooting, including 4-of-13 from three — and those numbers are inflated by a couple of late dagger threes.

And yet, the Warriors won. Convincingly.

Shaun Livingston had 20 points and three assists, Harrison Barnes started hot and finished with 13, Andre Iguodala had 12, and Draymond Green had 16 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists. The Warriors were balanced — and were the team playing vastly better defense.

Because of all that, Golden State now leads the NBA Finals 1-0, with Game 2 Sunday in Oakland.

This felt like a game the Cavaliers needed to win.

With the Warriors’ best shooters cold, the Cavs were able to erase an eight-point halftime deficit, and take a lead couple times in the second half of the third quarter. They were attacking the paint, getting to the free throw line, and getting offensive rebounds. This looked like a game Cleveland could win with that formula.

Then the Warriors bench came in.

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Can Cavaliers adjust after playing Eastern Conference patsies?

Can Cavaliers adjust after playing Eastern Conference patsies?

For weeks now, the Cleveland Cavaliers have gobbled up the creampuffs of the Eastern Conference. And frankly, none of those teams has prepared the Cavs for what they are going to be facing in the NBA Finals.

The Golden State Warriors are going to be a big upgrade on offense and defense from the Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks and Toronto Raptors. And I'm not sure that all that rest the Cleveland players have gotten along the way, after quick series sweeps, will make up for the caliber of competition they have faced.

This is going to be a real chore for them. Can Cleveland win? Of course -- if it finds a way to defend the Warriors without having to remove its best offensive players from the floor. Can the Cavs guard Golden State with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love on the floor? Possibly. But the Warrors' ball and player movement is a going to be a real challenge for the slower Cleveland defenders.

Can the Cavs score with Golden State? Yes, I think so -- particularly if they can consistenty get the ball to LeBron James at the low post, where nobody in basketball has had much luck defending him. The Warriors "lineup of death" small-ball group would have some trouble if the Cavs counter with a lineup featuring LeBron at center, surrounded by their outside shooters. Speaking of which, can Channing Frye continue his torrid outside shooting? That's a big thing.

So is Kevin Love's defense. The Warriors will surely attack him in the pick and roll and in isolation. If he can hande his assignments and stay on the floor, he can have a big impact. And who, by the way, is going to guard Klay Thompson?

Which reminds me, can you believe that two kids who grew up in the swanky suburb of Lake Oswego, sons of former NBA players and former teammates in Little League baseball, are squaring off in the NBA Finals?

I'm going to say the Warriors are going to win this thing in seven games. And it should be a classic.